Like clockwork – soothing, reassuring clockwork – the Peanuts celebrate every holiday with a special. And with ABC fully aware that Halloween is but days away, they’re throwing on one of the best in the collection of classics, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. The Charles M. Schulz toon will run this Thursday, October 28th at 8pm on ABC, just as it nears it’s 50th anniversary, having first been shown in 1966. Linus hopes that, finally, he will be visited by The Great Pumpkin, while Charlie Brown is (finally!) invited to a Halloween party. Vince Guaraldi is the music composer, of course, bringing his melodic background flow to the likes of Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Sally, Schroeder, and the rest.
Cast members include Peter Robbins (Charlie Brown) and Christopher Shea (Linus). The cast also includes Sally Dryer as Lucy, Chris Doran as Schroeder, Bill Melendez as Snoopy, Kathy Steinberg as Sally, Tracy Stratford as Violet and Ann Altieri as Frieda.
On October 2, 1950 the PEANUTS comic strip launched in seven American newspapers. Who would have guessed the impact the brand would have around the world for decades to come. Nearly 60 years later, the comic strip appears in over 2,200 newspapers, in 75 countries and 21 languages. PEANUTS animated specials have become a seasonal tradition and thousands of consumer products are available in virtually all retail channels. Charlie Brown kicking the football, Linus and his blanket and Lucy leaning over Schroeder’s piano are images to which everyone can relate. Such phrases as “Security Blanket” and “Good Grief” have become a part of the global vernacular. Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez’s association with Charles Schulz stretches back to 1965 with “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” which debuted on CBS in 1965 with Mendelson as executive producer and Bill Melendez as animator and director. The three men continued their long-term association until Schulz’s death, working together on 50 PEANUTS network specials and four feature films. The network specials won five Emmys, two Peabodys and 18 other Emmy nominations.